The Nature of Judicial Power: Proprietary Claims of Religion

Janmaasthan of Lord Ram is the place where Babri Mosque has been constructed.”

Mikhail Tal, born on 09.11.1936, said once, “you must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one”. M Siddiq v. Mahant Suresh Das, [Civil Appeal Nos. 10866-10867 of 2010], pronounced on 09.11.2019. has led us into a deep dark forest. The facts, evidence and oral arguments traversed the realms of history, archaeology, religion and the law.

Supreme Being, an omnipresent being, is incapable of being identified or delineated in any manner meaningful to the law. Hindu idols, by possessing a physical form, is identifiable and is a legal person. However, Asthan Shri Ram Janam Bhumi is not a juristic person. The purpose for which juristic personality is conferred cannot be evolved into a trojan horse that permits, on the basis of religious faith and belief, the extinguishing of all competing proprietary claims. The dispute is over immovable property. The Court does not decide title on the basis of faith or belief but on the basis of settled principles of evidence. In a country like ours where contesting claims over property by religious communities are inevitable, our Courts cannot reduce questions of title, which fall firmly within the secular domain and outside the rubric of religion, to a question of which community‘s faith is stronger.

The Hindus have established a clear case of a possessory title to the outside courtyard by virtue of long, continued and unimpeded worship. As regards the inner courtyard, there is evidence on a preponderance of probabilities to establish worship by the Hindus prior to the annexation of Oudh by the British in 1857. The Muslims have offered no evidence to indicate that they were in exclusive possession of the inner structure prior to 1857.

The evidence in respect of the possessory claim of the Hindus to the composite whole of the disputed property stands on a better footing than the evidence adduced by the Muslims.”  ABC.jpeg